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Comment Re:Make reasonable laws - AND ENFORCE THEM VIGOROU (Score 1) 400

Yes, I agree with this part. I'm reading Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic" at the moment - there's a chapter on traffic norms. He compares driving in China, India and Africa and talks about the strong correlation between corruption and traffic accident and death rates among countries. For example, Belgium has much higher accident rates than the neighbouring country, the Netherlands, and this can be partially explained by the culture. The speed limit issue raised in the summary is just about American cultural norms.

Traffic is filled with injunctive norms, telling drivers what to do and what not to do. But the descriptive norm is often saying something else - and saying it louder. The most common example is the speed limit. The law on many U.S. highways is 65 miles per hour, but a norm has gradually emerged that says anything up to 10 miles per hour above that is legal fair game. Raise the speed limit, and the norm tends to shift; driving the speed limit starts to seem hazardous.

In Australia the current Australian Design Rules for vehicles say speedometers aren't allowed to under-read, so the police can book you if you are 1 km/h over the speed limit if they like. I don't know what tolerance they actually use, but driving at the speed limit is no problem here for other drivers.

The chapter in the book also talks about tipping, which seems like a form of corruption to me. "If you want to know how corrupt a given country is, you may not need a big police sting. You could just look at how regularly its citizens tip." However, it seems like "the norm" to people living in tipping countries and they often defend it (just like Australians often defend mandatory bicycle helmet laws).

One of the least corrupt countries in the world is Finland, where your traffic fine is proportional to your income.

Comment Reality vs media, not blocked yet (Score 4, Informative) 279

There is a huge gulf between media reports of life in Iran and the reality. I was there for two weeks this month and wrote a short blog post on the internet censorship. http://kanahakkliha.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/iran-in-2012.html

The reality is the censorship is considered to be a complete joke - freegate or tor just goes right through it. The government is just wasting their time. Facebook, youtube and twitter are all "blocked" but everyone uses them. It only gets annoying when you're accessing wifi from a mobile device and don't have a VPN already set up.

There's a site called blockediniran.com which is pretty accurate - http://www.blockediniran.com/?siteurl=google.com it shows that google.com is not blocked yet (but, for example, it can't understand that m.smh.com.au is a website). However, when I was there, every other country variant of google was blocked - google.com.au, google.co.uk, google.co.nz etc, and blockediniran confirms those.

Comment online version is rubbish (Score 0) 427

I'm not impressed at all -- instead, try Bildgesmythe at www.personalityforge.com.

User: Hi Cleverbot, how are you today?
Cleverbot: Good. How are you today?
User: I'm sick, staying home from work today with a sore throat.
Cleverbot: We should have some warm apple pie then, my shout.
User: I think chicken soup might be better for my throat. Where do you live, by the way?
Cleverbot: Somebody who makes other people laugh.
User: Which country do you live in?
Cleverbot: I live in Flatland.
User: Where is that, is it near the UK?
Cleverbot: Yes. It is a town called Idle.
User: I asked about a country so why are you talking about a town?
Cleverbot: Oh, I plan to go to school.
User: Where do you go to school?
Cleverbot: South wilts.
User: Where's that?
Cleverbot: No, pennsylvania.
User: Do you mean that South Wilts is in Pennsylvania?
Cleverbot: No. I have a dog named Shakespeare.
User: There is no way that any sentient being could mistake you for a human.
Cleverbot: We are now married.

Comment Re:Another depressing "refresh" to the MBP line (Score 1) 411

I have the same 15-inch October 2006 Core 2 Duo MBP -- I will stick with it, or wait for the MacBook Air upgrade, because I can't see myself buying a laptop without USB 3.0 when it will be obsolete within 6 months.

My 2006 MBP has an ExpressCard slot so I can "add" USB 3.0 ports or eSATA ports, but the unibody 15-inch MBPs don't!


Son Sues Mother Over Facebook Posts 428

Most kids hate having their parents join in on a discussion on Facebook, but one 16-year-old in Arkansas hates it so much he has filed suit against his mother, charging her with harassment. From the article: "An Arkadelphia mother is charged with harassment for making entries on her son's Facebook page. Denise New's 16-year-old son filed charges against her last month and requested a no-contact order after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him on the social networking site. New says she was just trying to monitor what he was posting." Seems like he could just unfriend her.

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